ARX (Adaptive Resource Switch) is a filesystem virtualization switch, which provides intelligent file virtualization for storage environments. ARX can be used to tier files across multiple filers, provide disaster recovery services, and allow administrators to migrate files between backend filers without disruption of service. These are a few of the use cases for ARX, but by no means all of them. Over the next few months, we will be covering ARX heavily here on DevCentral. Let’s get started by deploying ARX Virtual Edition in our ESX environment.

ARX Virtual Edition resource requirements

The resource requirements are difference depending on the license you have for your ARX VE.

If you have a trial license obtained from http://www.f5.com/trial the requirements are as follows:

  • 1 CPU core, 64-bit architecture
  • 2 GB of memory
  • 1 Virtual NIC (VNIC)
  • 40 GB or more of hard drive space

If you have a production license or evaluation license, the requirements are as follows:

  • 2 CPU cores, 64-bit architecture
  • 4 GB of memory
  • 1 Virtual NIC (VNIC)
  • 40 GB or more of hard drive space

Prerequisites

  1. Download and install VMWare ESXi
  2. Download VMWare vSphere Client from ESXi host and install on local workstation
  3. Generate registration key and download F5 ARX Virtual Edition (VE) 

    001

Installation

  1. Connect to ESXi host using VMWare vSphere Client 

    002
  2. Select ‘File’, then ‘Deploy OVF Template…’ 

    003
  3. Browse to the location of the OVF template (arxve-esx-trial-XXXXX.ova), select it, and click ‘Next’ 

    004
  4. Check the ‘OVF Template Details and make sure everything looks correct, then click ‘Next’ 

    005
  5. Name your Virtual Edition instance, click ‘Next’ 

    006
  6. Select ‘Trial’ from the ‘Configuration’ drop-down, click ‘Next’ 

    007
  7. Select ‘Thick provisioned format’ to allocate the disk space immediately (only select ‘Thin provisioned format’ if disk space is an issue and you fully understand its implications), click ‘Next’ 

    008
  8. Select the network you would like to attach the ARX VE VNIC to, click ‘Next’ 

    009
  9. Verify all of the deployment details and click ‘Finish’ if everything is correct 

    010
  10. The OVF template will now be deployed onto the ESXi box. This process can take 5-10 minutes. 

    011

Configuration – command-line portion

  1. Power on ARX VE virtual machine
  2. Open console tab
  3. Press ‘enter’ to start the ‘Switch Configuration Wizard’ 

    012
  4. Enter the following parameters (substitute your values where necessary)

    Management port IP address 10.0.0.150
    Management port subnet mask 255.255.255.0
    Management port gateway IP address 10.0.0.254
    Switch private IP address (accept default)
    Switch private subnet mask (accept default)
    Chassis UUID (accept default)
    Crypto-officer username admin
    Crypto-officer password (use your own)
    System password (use your own)
    Master key (accept default)

  5. Once you have completed the form, type ‘yes’ to accept your changes 

    013
  6. Wait for all the services to restart

Configuration – web interface portion

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to the filer over HTTPS (https://10.0.0.150 in our case) 
  2. Login with the crypto-officer username and password 

    014
  3. From the ‘Common Operations’ leaf, select ‘Initial Setup…’ 

    015
  4. Begin the initial setup wizard (these values will vary with your local environment)

    Switch name test-arx-ve
    Management protocols SSH, API Access – HTTPS (we may want this for some iControl examples later on)
    Proxy IP addresses 10.0.0.160 (1 is required for ARX VE)
    NTP server 10.0.0.254
    Time zone region North and South America contrinents
    Time zone city PST (-0800)/PDT (-0700) United States Pacific time
    DNS domain name arx-test-ve.f5-test.com
    Primary DNS server 10.0.0.254
    DNS search domains f5-test.com
    Fully qualified domain name of e-mail server smtp.f5-test.com
    E-mail recipients admin@f5-test.com
    SNMP (optional)

  5. Confirm your configuration and click ‘Finish’ to finalize the initial setup
  6. At this point, the VE instance should be fully configured with the exception of licensing the unit 

    016

Activating the license automatically

  1. Locate the email you received containing the registration key and copy the key to your clipboard 

    017
  2. Select ‘Activate License…’ from the web interface of ARX Manager
  3. Paste the registration key into the field of the pop-up window and select ‘Automatic’ if your ARX has a route to the Internet, click ‘Next’ 

    018
  4. Agree to the EULA terms and click ‘Next’ 

    019
  5. If automatic activation worked correctly, you should be presented with a confirmation screen, click ‘Finish’ 

    020

Activating the license manually

  1. Follow steps 1-2 from the previous selection
  2. Paste the registration key into the field of the pop-up window and select ‘Manual’
  3. Copy the dossier to your clipboard and click ‘Click here to access F5 licensing server’ 

    021
  4. Paste dossier into the text field and click ‘Next’ 

    022
  5. Copy the license to your clipboard and post it into the ‘License’ field of the pop-up window, click ‘Next’ 

    023
  6. If manual activation worked correctly, you should be presented with a confirmation screen, click ‘Finish’ (should look like confirmation from previous section, step 5)

Conclusion

Now that you’ve got ARX VE up and running in your environment, you can begin playing with some of the functionality. We will be using a combination of commercial filer simulators in the examples that follow over the next few months. If you want to get ahead of the game, get your favor filer up and running on your ESX box. See everyone next week!